Do SGML and XML co-exist?

Len Bullard cbullard at
Wed Nov 17 04:53:06 GMT 1999

David Megginson:

>This is a good thing -- it would have been fine if XML had died and
>full SGML had won, and it's fine the way it is, but if both SGML and
>XML had been equally strong competitors, we would have been dealing at
>best with the same problem people have with OpenGL/DirectX,

Interesting, but nah.  XML won because Microsoft backed 
it.  Plain and simple.  The differences between the 
features of the practice aren't that great.  The size is.
The money came and when the money voted, the money voted 
for a namechange and a change of venue.  Selah.  
Same dumb stuff, just cheaper and better integrated into 
the windowing system and the network.

>XML's success is primarily an economic success, not a technical one,
>but in the technical world economic success is what matters because
>it's what delivers the network effect that makes life exciting.

I agree with that.   SMLs success might be that it finds its 
own universal medium as HTML did.  It could happen.  So, the 
choices for the SML developers would be about the same as 
the choices of the SGML developers that developed XML.  It 
is an issue of money and media.  Economic success comes 
with control of both or it doesn't emerge.

Anyway... issues that *should* preoccupy us:

1.  Can anyone make sense of the Schemas draft without a 
narrator?  When every other word in the description is a 
hyperlinked term, there is something very complex 
going on.  Reading the specs, they link off into some 
mysterious InfoSet black hole that stops at the event horizon 
of a login.  Kind of reminds me of ... Hytime.  MMTT.  

2.  What are the conformance requirements for host languages 
and host language processors?  HTML and VRML 
qualify as hosts.  X3D will be.  What else?  SVG and VML 
appear not to be, but then there is SMIL? 

3.  Are the datatypes adequate?  Do we need the array types 
as primitives?  The X3D guys say yes.  Every place we are forced  
to build that into a host language, we get a different 
spec for a common part.  What is the reasoning to that?


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